An interview with Andreas Lutz, CEO, Fides
Fides is the world leader in multibank connectivity, payments and transaction communications. A market leader for more than a century, Fides is committed to making financial operations as efficient, transparent and secure as possible for all organisations. More than 3,500 clients rely on Fides for efficient cash and liquidity management, through connectivity to more than 13,000 banks and comprehensive workflow, reporting, conversion, validation and security services.
The European caught up with CEO Andreas Lutz to find out how it all works.
The European: Please expand on how Fides’ multibanking solutions make treasury operations simpler, more transparent and more efficient.
Andreas Lutz: Without centralised data, you can’t have true global cash visibility, making accurate forecasting and liquidity management impossible. Fides brings together all the data from a customer’s banks to provide a consolidated view within a single platform for account reporting and payments, eliminating much of the manual work that has historically fallen on treasury. Administration of different bank accounts and processing transaction information from multiple accounts with different security protocols can be enormously time consuming. Many treasury teams are logging into different bank portals, working with massive spreadsheets, and yet still lack the cash visibility they need. Fides gives clients complete visibility into, and control over bank connections and transactions, with secure access from any location through the Fides Multibanking Suite, or integration with any TMS or ERP. Administration and approvals are controlled in one place, saving time and effort while providing visibility into all aspects of workflows. Dynamic grids allow users to customise their views and apply filters on the fly, a mobile optimised sign-off process enables approval from anywhere, and multilinked visualisation of payment statuses, independent of bank or channel, makes it easy for treasury staff to quickly spot and address any issues.
TE: Tell us a little about your Account Reporting solution. What type of companies should engage with this, and what are the advantages?
AL: Fides Account Reporting enables clients to quickly and easily view overall liquidity and account statements from their banks, at any time. While this is something any company can benefit from, it’s especially helpful for organisations that are working with multiple banks and accounts globally, and those who have distributed teams or subsidiaries. Fides consolidates and normalises account information such as balances, transactions and booking texts from clients’ banking partners all over the world. With just a few clicks, treasury gets complete transparency and a complete overview of account information through a set of user-friendly dashboards. The process involves converting all messages into a standardised format, verifying the account statements, allowing the customer to choose a preferred format, and providing options for downloading data from the Fides Multibanking Suite or processing directly through their TMS or ERP System. Whether you are a small company with only a handful of banks and accounts or a global payment factory, Fides delivers a flexible, scalable, best-inclass solution to meet all your account reporting needs, today and into the future.
TE: Discuss the importance of verifying all transactions before they are submitted to banks, and how Fides can guarantee this process.
AL: We are living in a time of economic turmoil, where cyber crime is at an all-time high. Through a proprietary toolkit of file conversion, validation, and sanction filtering capabilities, Fides assures that clients’ payment and messaging activity is accurate and reliable. Failed payments increase cost, impact cash flow, and can negatively impact banking relationships. Fides validation capabilities ensures the creation of accurately structured payments, improving control and consistency for all transaction data. All files are validated and corrected prior to release, ensuring that files are compliant and bank-ready.
TE: Fides is a certified SWIFT Service Bureau. Please outline why this is important to your clients, what advantages does this offer?
AL: As a certified SWIFT Service Bureau, compliant with the latest SIP version, Fides can make bank messaging more efficient with a single solution. Clients get an enterprise-wide view of transactions around payments, FX and other investment transactions. In addition, Fides manages SWIFT access and ensures appropriate compliance. Fides’ unique Hybrid Service Bureau model enables communication through any channel, including EBICS, host-to-host, other networks, and APIs. This, along with our exclusive cross-network dual-BIC service option, which combines our SWIFT Financial BIC, SWIFT Corporate BICs, and any other channels of choice, closes any gaps in banks’ SCORE readiness and can reduce SWIFT costs as well as the cost of maintaining individual connections.
TE: What are the benefits to using Fides vs. managing bank connections in-house?
AL: Bank connectivity is our business, and we’ve been in business for more than a century. If you choose to work with Fides you know you will be working with specialists who are experienced in dealing with different connectivity channels and formats. Fides can implement the connections you need using the channels of your choice. And using Fides can be more cost effective and gives you a broader reach than establishing and managing individual direct connections using a single channel or other providers. Plus, Fides saves valuable treasury time – no need to individually collect and compile data in spreadsheets.
TE: What other aspects of Fides’ treasury solutions should our readers know about?
AL: Fides provides a single platform for processing all transactions, in any format, through any channel. Payments and transaction information are validated and securely transmitted to your global banking partners via the optimal channel, meeting the requirements of all banking relationships. Fides can be utilised for the full range of MT and MX (ISO 20022) formatted messages, including those used for trade finance or FX trades. Fides also serves as a central location to manage and execute payments and provides an efficient method of monitoring all payments. Fides is able to process and send payment orders globally to a multitude of different banks and uses enhanced data validation and enrichment processes to ensure client information is delivered securely and quickly. As Fides is system- and bank-agnostic, and integrates with all TMS and ERP systems, it is the perfect platform to support the flexibility needed for M&A activities. Our growing Multibanking Ecosystem provides access to best of breed third-party solutions to enhance the client experience. And Fides is known for outstanding client service and support, ensuring client satisfaction at every step of the way.
ABOUT ANDREAS LUTZ
Andreas Lutz has been CEO of Fides since 2017. He has more than twenty years of experience in senior positions in the finance and treasury industry and is responsible for setting and implementing the strategic direction of the company.